IT was a cosy, friendly little cinema where generations of Southampton filmgoers would enjoy a night out at the pictures but unfortunately this was not enough to save The Palladium in Portswood.

The 652-seater cinema, which stood on the site close to Portswood library was built in 1913 and throughout its lifetime it remained just as it was when the curtain went up on the first presentation.

Local people will remember that the entrance to the old cinema was flanked on one side by a jeweller's shop and on the other by a sweet shop. For many people it was a sad day when The Palladium closed. One reader wrote to the Daily Echo recalling the many times she had visited the cinema.

"My earliest memories are of Saturday afternoon matinees for children for the princely sum of 2d (1p),'' said the letter writer. Those old films! The Perils of Pauline among others, kept us on the edge of our seats. Even when I was courting - what a lovely word - we had a good evening out for three shillings (15p).

"Two seats at a shilling each, a packet of cigarettes and some chocolate caramels from the Chocolate Box next door.

"They were simple pleasures, but so much enjoyed. I cried buckets over the Gish sisters, Pear White and Ruth Roman. And will anyone ever match Charlie Chaplin, I wonder? Our entertainment was cheap, but so cheerful.''

As soon as the cinema closed builders moved into the premises to convert it to a Fine-Fare supermarket which already had similar shops in Shirley and Bitterne. The last frame to be shown at The Palladium was in May, 1958. The growing popularity of TV had taken its toll. Showing that night was The Belles of St Trinians.

When the house lights went up at the end the cinema's manager of 24 years, Mr B L Mayer, told the audience of 500: "You have just witnessed the final performance of the old Palladium, and on behalf of my directors, staff and myself I want to thank you for your patronage and splendid support over the years.''

As the audience left, Mr Mayer and his staff lined up in the foyer to say goodbye to their customers and five of them said that they had attended the first show at the Palladium more than 40 years earlier. When the manager returned to his office to close up for the last time he discovered someone had placed a poem his desk. The last verse read:

But through the years new pleasures came,

And cinemas were not the same.

The lights grow dim, the music dies,

And only in our hearts there lie

Nostalgic memories of the past

For we must close the show at last.